PLANS to close all Thurrock libraries one-day a week to save £196,000 have been branded “a slippery slope” by opposition councillors.

Thurrock Council’s Labour cabinet met on Friday to approve a £350,000 package of cuts to the library service.

That included agreeing to shut libraries on what will probably be a Monday, depending on a public consultation.

Cllr Joy Redsell, Conservative spokesman for leisure, community and culture, said: “I do not agree with closing all the libraries one day a week, it is a slippery slope and once you start closing the libraries it seems it is only going in one direction.

“When I was portfolio holder and I decided to close the libraries for one hour in the morning I received many letters in opposition.

“I would have looked at shutting the libraries an hour earlier to save money.”

All library staff who work more than 15 hours a week will have their hours cut by 20 per cent, but there will be no redundancies.

A report to the cabinet conceded that all of the options that were considered would have a detrimental effect on the community.

It said: “There are area wide range of community impacts potentially arising from these proposals, including reduced access to services which are likely to affect those with mobility or other impairments and those on low incomes.”

Labour cabinet member for leisure, communities and culture, Cllr Lynn Worrall, said at the meeting: “I can state categorically these latest proposals keep each and every one of our libraries open. Their hours may reduce, but each and every one will stay open.

“We all recognise the difficult financial climate we are in and the need for services to achieve savings. Unfortunately, library services cannot be exempt.

“However, we also recognise the vital role library services plays in our communities and we have therefore sought to ensure we make short-term savings which minimise the impact on communities.”